Understanding your motivation : Why do you want to start a business?


Understanding your motivation to own a business

Motivation. It is one of those strange, intangible things that most of us probably rarely think about. High motivation is common in successful business owners and entrepreneurs.

What motivates people to leap into business?  Surprisingly money is often not the number one reason.

We all have different influences and motivators that push and pull us in certain directions and make us dream of quitting our job to unleash our potential. 

The growing trend of entrepreneurship stems from personal, social and economic factors that may differ for each person.

While the internet and social platforms have enabled a new breed of entrepreneurial business owner to emerge, there are other motivations for this phenomenon.

One thing is for sure based on our experience-you better understand your motivation before you own a business to make sure you are not disappointed.

How many people want to have their own business?

Research by NAB Group Economics in Business View 2018 shows 32% of Australians “like the idea of owning a business”.

Survey Results from NAB Group Economics

The data shows that 1 in 2 people believe our entrepreneurship capacity is “good” to “excellent”.

People’s age demographics that say “I would love to own my own business” is also fascinating.

18-29 year-olds = 45%

30-49 year-olds = 39%

+50 year-olds = 19%

(source NAB Group Economics)

It’s also amazing the fastest growing cohort in the survey were the over-50-year-olds.

Why do people want to own a business?

Where it gets exciting are the reasons people give as their motivation to own a business.

Research bar chart why people want to own a business.

(source NAB Group Economics)

The striking thing in the research is that financial reward is ranked so low which may suggest that many people place high value on autonomy and flexibility. .

Financial reward is not the main reason people want to own a business.

Here are non-financial reasons that people give for becoming business owners.

  • A desire for freedom and autonomy in your life?
  • To use your skills as a force for good in the world?
  • Organise your work agenda and work from wherever you are?
  • Choose your projects and clients that align with your values?
  • Is your hobby a real passion that you wish could become your primary income?
  • Create a part time business for better work life balance.
  • There is a creative need in you that work does not fulfil.
  • Perhaps it’s the satisfaction of growing a successful business from scratch.

Understanding your motivation to quit your job?

Quitting your job to own a business is a huge commitment that can change your life forever. You might be giving up stable employment or risking your savings to start a business. So, you want this huge commitment to be a huge success which can mean different things to each of us. You have to understand what success means to you, so we start by helping you work out three things:

  • Who are you?
  • What does success mean to you?
  • What achievements are you seeking?

Listen to episode 2 You 360: How well do you know yourself? to help you discover what you want. Our worksheet helps you develop a Personal Awareness Profile about various aspects of your life.

Answering these questions will help you decide if quitting your job to own a business may be a good choice as well as helping you evaluate if potential business ideas are suitable for you.Cartoon man with brief case running have quit his job


We have met many business owners who wished they had understood “what they wanted” out of life. They would have either chosen a different business to the one they have or done things a very different way. 

Some admit they would never have started their business if they had known what it entailed.

Loose notions of how leaving your job and owning a business will improve your income, lifestyle and health may mislead you and cause you to make the wrong decision. We suggest that you do not resign from employment until you work out your motivation and understand the reality of owning a business.

Another vital consideration is if you have the personality and mindset of an entrepreneur business owner?

What tipping point will trigger you to quit your job?

At some point you might reach a tipping point where you can’t stand your job any longer or maybe a tipping point is forced upon you through redundancy or a change in circumstances.

Here’s some typical triggers based on our experience:

  • You have a great idea that you are confident would become a successful business.
  • The thought of your daily commute makes your heart sink.
  • Perhaps you can’t stand your boss.
  • You don’t share the same values as your employer.
  • Work seems like a treadmill, and you yearn for more time off to relax and think?
  • Your income cannot provide for your needs.
  • Work is affecting your health and wellbeing.
  • Perhaps your circumstances have changed, allowing you to change.
  • You have been made redundant or had your hours cut back.
  • You hate your job and need a new challenge.

According to GoogleTrend there are 12,000 searches of the words “I hate my job” every month in the USA alone.

Gallup surveys show that only around 35% of US employees are engaged in their work, which is much higher than in many other countries. 

When taken together these data points suggest there are hundreds of thousands of people who hate their job!

Why do you hate your job?

I hate work cartoon character

From our research into why people hate their job we have got the following responses:

  • my boss continually talks about how good he is, and he takes the credit for everything.
  • my company is only interested in money.
  • I am in a toxic workplace, and I don’t want to be there. I hate it.
  • my boss shouts at me, and that makes me feel awful.
  • work is boring and it doesn’t excite me.
  • the job is too stressful and I want less stress in my life.
  • I want more money.
  • there is not enough time off.
  • I need a change.
  • I am too old to do this shit; I’m over it.

Are you an employee with a poor work-life balance?

Having a poor work-life balance is a common cause of dissatisfaction for many employees, especially managers. Managers and professionals frequently find it difficult to switch off from their work as their employers expect them to be “available” at all times. 

The combination of these factors, wanting more “time off”, “less-stress” and “more money” could stem from a poor work-life balance. 

Feeling undervalued and taken for granted by your employer could be other reasons to a hatred of your job or employer.

Understanding your motivation and what will make you happy?

Responses from our research into what these unhappy employees want are:

  • I’d like to work from home and be my own boss.
  • It would be great to work for myself if I could because I decide what to do.
  • I’d like a sense of achievement.
  • flexibility is important to me in my work because of commitments at home.
  • I don’t know how to run a business, so I have to find another job.
  • My dream is turning my hobby into a business to see if I can make enough money doing it.
  • I never want my own business; it’s too hard.
  • I like the regular income, so I have to stick it out.
  • Maybe I will buy a franchise as it’s easier.
  • Perhaps I’d like to do something more worthwhile.
  • I don’t know but not this!

If you hate your job, only one of two things will happen.

Whatever the cause, one of two things will happen:

1 You will suck it up and stay dissatisfied.

2 You will do something about it.

What is the tipping point for quitting your job?

We often tolerate a level of discomfort in our lives and accommodate things we don’t like in the name of compromise.

For some people, their capacity to accept discomfort is more than their desire to change. Therefore, the status quo prevails, and they trundle on, dissatisfied and disillusioned.

For others, the level of dissatisfaction reaches a tipping point which initiates change. They cannot stand the feeling of being trapped any longer.

Reaching the tipping point for some people is quick. For others, it might take years before they finally say “I can’t stand this any longer-its killing me” and take action.

Changing jobs might not be the answer if you hate your job.

If you hate your job, then the obvious thing to do is change it. But, this change might not help if you are not happy with what you do. For example, being a nurse does not fundamentally change just by changing the hospital.

The underlying reasons can be more complex and therefore, rather than simply changing your current job, maybe you need to change your career altogether.

Perhaps it’s time for a new challenge to help you stop feeling stale. Many entrepreneurs want the feeling of freedom by choosing a business that excites them. Being able to utilise your skills, organise your own working agenda and contribute to making the world a better place may be your driver.

Becoming a small business owner may be the best solution for some people but how does that compare to simply changing your employment?

If done well, owning a business can create personal wealth and bring new and exciting challenges to your life.

Should you start a business because you hate your job?

Undoubtedly some people are not suited to owning a business. Business ownership is not for everybody, and it’s hard to know if it is right for you without prior experience in a small to medium business.

The business owner mindset is different to an employee mindset and the work life balance of a business owner might not be any better.

The reality of business ownership is different from the hype on the internet and social media. There are hidden causes for new business failures that don’t get talked about, and we focus on these in our podcast.

Quitting your job and starting a business because not a good idea unless you are fully prepared and know what to expect.

Some questions you have might have  “is this a bad time to start a business?” or “do I have the business skills?”.

If you are considering starting a business or buying a business or franchise, preparation is the key to success. Taking the right action before you start a business is crucial.

Becoming a business owner is a long term and possibly life-changing event. Considering if you are suited and prepared, is a key step that can prevent you from making a big mistake.

What do you wish to achieve by owning a business?

Having considered what is causing your dissatisfaction, think carefully about what business success means to you across several areas of your life, such as:

  • Time
  • Money
  • Wellbeing 
  • Creativity
  • Autonomy
  • Relationships

Our business mentoring experience tells us that trying to separate your business and life aspirations is not sensible as owning a business tends to become a dominant part of your life.

Write down what motivates you as this will help you define success and evaluate a business idea or opportunity.

Understanding your motivation will avoid future trouble

When you are experiencing challenges in your business – and you will – what is it that is going to make you keep going? It can be all too easy to quit without strong motivation.

Low levels of motivation can lead to other business killers like procrastination.

Your motivation and resilience need to be strong enough to keep you going when the going gets tough.

Try our Entrepreneur Personality Quiz to give you tips on self-assessing if you will be successful?

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